This Is Us has been taking fans on an emotional journey for five seasons since its debut in 2016. The show highlights the Pearson family, led by Jack and Rebecca, and the Big Three— their children, Kevin, Kate, and Randall. From the ups and downs of family life to the extreme challenges that the family endure together, the show is relatable for many viewers.
The five seasons have chronicled everything from life after child loss, adoption, the loss of a spouse and a parent, children born with different capabilities, and a slew of other real-life experiences. Recently, the series has dealt with matriarch Rebecca’s struggle through Alzheimer’s.
As Rebecca’s family has seen her struggle, they’ve also had a hard time understanding what was happening in her life and how to help. An overarching theme of the series is never quite having enough time. In fact, when Dan Fogelman was asked about the final season of This Is Us, he shared with Entertainment Weekly that the word time resonates with him most.
“Time. The show has always been a little bit about how we view our lives through time and zoom out. And the last season, as we get deeper into it, does that a lot. I’m also personally feeling the time right now as we enter the back couple of episodes of our entire series. I’m starting to feel that kind of bittersweet emotion that comes with something coming to an end. So it’s both a word that comes to mind when I’m thinking about this final season of the show literally, but it’s also something personally for all of us that we’re thinking about a lot right now.”
As fans of the series know, there are time jumps, time gained and lost with loved ones, and never enough time for some characters. As Rebecca’s health continues to decline, her family tries to squeeze in as much time as possible with her.
“At its core, this has been a show about three things, which is family, time, and memory. Rebecca’s storyline and her disease really factors into all of that. Alzheimer’s is a disease that’s a disease for the family, and not just for the one person who’s suffering from it. This is a family whose childhoods and adulthoods have been defined by one another. So I think Rebecca’s illness will put them in the spotlight together.”
In the trailer for the upcoming season, Rebecca says, “I’m losing my memory. Sometimes I wonder what my very last memory will be before the candle goes out.”
When asked what words he’d use to describe the upcoming season premiering on the Big Three’s birthday, Fogelmabn used adjectives that are both heartwarming and heartwrenching.
“It’s nostalgic. It’s reflective. This season’s going to have a nice, quiet, slow pace to it, intentionally. And some things need to be set up to then explode later or come to fruition later. So these first episodes are doing the job to — hopefully in an entertaining and fulfilling way — set the table for some really big stuff that’s coming down the pike.”
The entire interview with EW is a treasure for fans of the series and just enough to gear up our excitement for the season six premiere tomorrow night. What happens next for the Pearson clan will be a lot to work through, and as we prepare for the candle to go out, emotions are high.
This Is Us will debut its sixth and final season on NBC Tuesday, Jan. 4.